Saturday, July 31, 2010

Facets Of Wiccan Neopaganism

Facets Of Wiccan Neopaganism Cover As denominations in orthodox religions differ, so do those of NeoPagans. Some are monotheistic, (belief in one god) others, dualistic (belief in the goddess and the god) and others, polytheistic (belief in more than two deities). Pagan means non-Christian people who lived in the country. As people were converted to Christianity, many of them held onto the old ways. Some NeoPagans try to reconstruct the Old Religion. Because of the persecution of witches, practitioners practiced their spirituality in secret and it is very possible that old writings exist, having been handed down over the centuries. Others have reinvented the old ways, creating new religions.

Many people think of Wicca as the Pagan religion and use the term interchangeably. There are other Pagan religions. Wiccans believe that one existed before time and created the Goddess and the God. The emphasis is on the Goddess. The most well known forms of Wicca follow.

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn is Ceremonial Wicca that was formed during the occult revival of the1800s in Europe. Its roots are in Freemasonry, Rosicruciana, the Qabala, Hermeticism, angel magick, ancient Egyptian religion, Eliphas Levi and Pagan beliefs of the Renaissance.

The most notorious member was Aleister Crowley himself “the Great Beast” and practiced aspects of Satanism. There are NeoPagans whose practices and beliefs are based on Crowley’s writings and his Thoth Tarot Deck.

The Waite-Rider Tarot Deck is the most commonly known writing of the Golden Dawn which Arthur Edward Waite created and Pamela Colman Smith illustrated. The deck was based on an old European deck that was created centuries before and survived the witchcraft persecutions.

Gardnerian Witchcraft was founded in the mid 1950s in England by Gerald Gardner and further developed by Doreen Valiente. It was influenced by ceremonial magick, Freemasonry and Tantric Hinduism. High priestesses head the covens. There is a Goddess and a horned God. Emphasis is on the cycle of life: birth, death, rebirth…. The covens are skyclad, nude, during rites. Rites are closed. Raymond and Rosemary Buckland brought this tradition to the US in the 1960s.

The Wiccan Rede is a guiding principle. Do what you will, but harm no one. Most scholars attribute this to Gardner.

Alexandrian was established in England in the 1960s by Alexander Sanders with its roots in Gardnerian. There is more emphasis on the Qabalah, Ceremonial Magic and angels. Covens meet on the Full and New Moons and Sabbats. Participants are skyclad.

One branch of Dianic covens worships only the Goddess, Diana, and is composed of women. Rediscovering female power and divinity and the raising of consciousness are emphasized. The rituals are eclectic. The other branch honors the Horned God, Diana’s consort and allows men in covens.

Another Wiccan branch is called faerie, feri, fairy and/or Faery, formed by Victor and Cora Anderson. There is an African influence. The belief is in the Goddess and her brother, son and lover, the Divine Twins. The deities are perceived as real spirits like human ones. The emphasis is on polytheism, self development, magick, sensuality and direct communication with the deities, not fertility.

Stregheria is the Italian form of the Craft and practices nature spirituality. Goddesses and gods are worshipped as representative of the forces of nature. Its roots are in the Pagan religion of the Romans and the Etruscans. This was first revived by the peasants who were persecuted in 14th century Italy.

There are eclectic covens that combine aspects of different forms of Paganism. There are solitary practitioners. Each person believes in the form of spirituality that best satisfies the spiritual needs for herself and himself.

Books You Might Enjoy:

Iris Firemoon - Firefly Wiccan Advancement
Aj Drew - A Wiccan Bible
Julia Phillips - History Of Wicca In England
Julius Evola - Against The Neopagans
Al Selden Leif - 6 Questions On Wicca And Paganism